The problem with forwards thrust is that it's a property of the entire vehicle (with a certain transmission, certain final drive ratio and certain drive size), not a property of the engine. Also it varies depending in the gear you're using.
There's one parameter that's independent of all of this. It's power, specified in horsepower (note there are two different incompatible definitions of "horsepower") or kilowatts. That's a physical restriction of the engine you can't overcome. If an engine produces 100 kilowatts, you can't ever get 101 kilowatts out of it, but if an engine produces 200 Newton meters at the output shaft you can easily get 2400 Newton meters out of it at the wheels -- just select the first gear and floor the gas pedal.
However, the problem with maximum engine power in kilowatts is that it's almost always produced in a rotation rate that makes the engine very noisy. If you want to accelerate quickly, you can shift to a gear providing higher rotation rate of the engine, but the shift is slow and bad for the user experience of the car. Also if you don't want to annoy other road users with the noise, you might want to not do that shift.
Therefore, you may want another kind of number that describes how well the engine provides rotational thrust (that transmission and tires convert to forwards thrust) at the current rotation rate, something that is as independent of the rotation rate as it can be. That's torque. Usually the torque curve is very flat over the useful operating region of an engine.
The problem with engine torque is that transmission and final drive convert it to wheel torque and you need to do that conversion to get wheel torque. Also wheel size is needed to convert that to forwards thrust in Newtons. But, in some cases, if you want to know how well you can accelerate in a reasonable gear without doing a gearshift, torque is the figure you're looking for.
Theoretically, in a car with 6-speed manual transmission gearbox, you could specify six numbers for forwards thrust in every gear. Or you could specify only one number, engine torque. Usually engine torque is chosen (along with engine power) because it's a single number that represents the characteristics of the engine. Also in two different vehicles with same engine but different transmissions, final drive ratio and different tire sizes, the torque of the engine stays the same but forwards thrust doesn't. Also what gear you're in is usually dictated by the desire to avoid engine noise and the speed of the vehicle, so you might not even find useful how much forwards thrust you can have in the first gear if you're on a motorway.
When comparing apples to oranges, for example when comparing Wärtsilä-Sulzer RTA96-C that has maximal torque at 102 RPM, with a car gasoline engine that has maximal torque at 4200 RPM, then it's unfair to compare torque (well it would be unfair anyway since the RTA96-C wins always!). Then you want to compare power. However, for two engines with similar characteristics, such as two internal combustion engines that are intended for cars and not for ships, then torque comparisons may be useful and in some cases even better than power comparisons.
Aircraft jet engines produce linear thrust and not rotational thrust. They expel a stream of gas at high speed and that produces linear thurst. Therefore, the figure you're looking for in aircraft is linear thrust and not torque. You can't switch gears in an aircraft!